The Last Iron Curtain - Architecture in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with Architecture Tour to Pyongyang - HKU SPACE: Architecture courses
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Architecture, Environment & HousingArchitecture

The Last Iron Curtain - Architecture in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with Architecture Tour to Pyongyang

New Course | Walk In Hong Kong Limited (License no.: 353919)
Jointly Organized by
Walk In Hong Kong Limited (License no.: 353919)
Course Code
ARCH9064
Application Code
1535-1635NW
Study mode
Part-time
Start Date
To be advised
Duration
1 month
Language
English
Course Fee
HK$18,850*
(including HK$3,850 tour deposit to HKU SPACE, remaining fee to be collected by Walk In Hong Kong Limited (License No. 353919))

* HK$1,000 discount for HKU SPACE staff, and HKIA, AIA (HK), & RIBA members

Targeted for architects and design professionals, the lectures will provide the participants insights into the history and developments of DPRK's architecture, as well as, the socio-economical and historic factors behind the current status of architectural design and construction practices in DPRK. The lectures are followed with an architecture tour to DPRK. While in DPRK, the participants will have a chance to visit the State's architecture institute, gain insight into their construction process, and have an opportunity to see and/or visit a variety of new and old Communist buildings of great value that are not easily accessible to outsiders

With the fall of USSR in 1989, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) remains to be one of the few nations that inherited the practices and policies from the Soviet era. While much of the design and construction activities are controlled by the State, architects and planners are striving to modernize the architectural design of DPRK. The highly secluded country, has limited exchanges with other parts of the world, developed a unique and peculiar architectural aesthetic.

Architecture is an important means for showcasing states' ideologies and building a political and social environment to help regimes implement policies that are in line with socialism, if not communism. Large statues, grand open spaces, rectilinear buildings and realism are no strangers to those who had experienced the Soviet era or in China prior to the Open Reform. The importance of visiting DPRK and its capital lies in not only the country is the last remaining communist country in the world, but the fact that Pyongyang's total destruction during the Korean War provided an opportunity for DPRK architects to rebuild a city that can be entirely aligned with the Socialist blueprint, making the capital a perfect exhibition of Socialist architecture.

 

Course Objective

  • To understand the history, politics, economies, as well as international relations of contemporary DPRK.
  • To understand the socio-political factors affecting the architectural scene of present-day Pyongyang.
  • To study and compare practices of architecture between DPRK and other countries.
  • To appreciate the latest efforts and study the developments of DPRK’s architecture and monuments.

Pre-tour Lecture Schedule

Date     Time   Content
Lecture 1 7 - 9pm A Brief History of Architecture in Pyongyang.
Lecture 2 7 - 9pm Understanding North Korea: How North Korean Society Works and the Market Era.
Lecture 3 7 - 9pm Everyday Life in Pyong Yang - an Architectural Discourse and the pre-tour talk.

 

Tour Schedule

The tour is jointly organised by HKU SPACE and Walk In Hong Kong Limited (License No. 353919).

Date       Details

Day 1 

  • Flight from Hong Kong to Shenyang
  • Arrive at Shenyang and overnight stay at Vienna International Hotel, Shenyang (維也納國際酒店 - 瀋陽火車站店)
Day 2 
Morning
  • Train from Shenyang to Dandong (丹東市)

    Dandong is a Chinese city bordering Sinuiju (新義州), a special economic zone built by North Korea modeling on Hong Kong, where you will be able to locate a hidden Korean presence.
     
  • Train from Dandong to Pyongyang City (平壤市)

    The train journey is a great opportunity to meet with and talk to some local North Koreans. This will give you some ideas about the world's most isolated country beyond what is publicized in popular media.

0715

 
Afternoon
  • Arrive in Pyongyang City, to be greeted by local guides
  • Visit to Kim Il Sung Square (金日成廣場)

    At the heart of the capital, this is where massive military parades commonly take place.
     
  • Walk along Changjon Street (長箭街)

    Nicknamed "Pyonghattan", this street houses some of Pyongyang’s most prominent structures, part of Kim Jong-un's plan for a “great golden age of construction".
     
  • Overnight stay at Yanggakdo Hotel (羊角島飯店)
Day 3
Morning
  • Visit to Mansudae Grand Monument (萬壽台紀念碑)

    Visit to the two giant statues of the country's two most important leaders, Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il.
     
  • Visit to Juche Tower (主體思想塔)

    The Juche Ideology is the cornerstone of party works and government operations; it is also immersed into every aspect of social and cultural life of North Koreans. Learn more about the country's governing idea and its survival logic.
     
  • Visit to Workers’ Party Foundation Monument (勞動黨創黨紀念碑)

    The monument is the symbol of Workers' Party: the hammer, brush and the sickle representing the workers, intellectuals and farmers of the country respectively.
     
  • Extended Ride on the Pyongyang Metro (平壤地鐵)

    This may sound mundane to Hong Kongers living in a city with one of the world's best public transport systems, but the Pyongyang Metro is a great opportunity to mingle and mix with the local urban dwellers! We will also have the rare chance to travel up to 6 stations, so that you can see the smaller, modest stations alongside the big ones.

0716-1     0716-2

 
Afternoon
  • Exclusive Tram Ride (獨特電車遊)

    Most of the trams were assembled in the former Czechoslovakia during Soviet times before 1991. This is a rare chance to try out this common transport tool of Pyongyang citizens.
     
  • Visit to Arch of Triumph (凱旋門)

    Modeled after the Arc de Triumph in Paris, but is slightly taller on purpose!
     
  • Visit to Grand People's Study House (人民大學習堂)

    This is one example of the extent that North Korea is developing access to a wide range of educational facilities for all its citizens. This place houses an extensive library of books in addition to classrooms, study halls and lecture theatres.

    We will get to interact with adult students who are from various segments of society in an English Class.
     
  • Mansudae Art Theatre

    Completed in 1976, the theatre consists of a lobby, a main theatre, a small theatre, stages and makeup rooms. It is arranged with modern equipment including stage control, machines and air conditioners.
     
  • Kaeson Amusement Park (凱旋遊樂場)

    Another spot that is not open for normal tourists but only frequented by local people. We will see firsthand how the Kim Jong Un administration establishes more entertainment facilitates for its people.
     
  • Overnight at Yanggakdo Hotel (羊角島飯店)

0716-3    0716-4

Day 4
Morning
  • Departure to Pyongsong City (平城市)

    You will be able to have a glimpse of this second tier city.
     
  • Visit to Kim Jong Suk No.1 Middle School (金正淑第一中學)

    Kim Jong Suk was North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung’s first wife, former leader Kim Jong-il’s mother, and current leader Kim Jong-un's grandmother. A number of institutions were named after her, including this one.

    The language exchange session will give you the opportunity to talk with local students within an informal environment.
     
  • Wisong (Satellite) Scientist Residential park

    This newly built district is for scientists working on satellites.

0717-1   0717-2

 
Afternoon
  • Private walk along the Future Scientist Street (未來科學家街)

    Walk along this newly built modern street for Pyongyang's professors and scientists.
     
  • Lunch in the Pizza Restaurant in Pyongyang

    To ‘taste’ the increasing influence of Westernization in the country.
     
  • Ryugyong Hotel (柳京飯店)

    Nearly 30 years after its construction began and an estimated $750 million spent, the Hotel remains empty and unused. It was supposed to be the world's biggest hotel showing casing North Korea’s power, yet today, it is essentially a glorified telecommunications antenna.
     
  • Reunification Ice Rink

    The cone-shaped structure share similarities with Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral in England.
     
  • Wolhyang Exhibition Hall (月香展示館)
  • Science-Tech Complex

    Designed in the shape of an atom with elliptical orbits, the center acts as an e-library for scientific work and papers produced by North Korea scientists.
     
  • Overnight at Yanggakdo Hotel (羊角島飯店)
Day 5
Morning
  • Ministry of Architecture and speak to DPRK architecture experts
  • Exchange session with Students from Paektusan Academy of Architecture (白頭山建築學院 )

    Discussion on recent and future architectural and urban development in Pyongyang and strategies in efficient spatial organization within the city. One of the top universities for the study of Architecture.
Afternoon
  • Work on an assigned task with North Korean students and come out with solutions together
Evening
  • Departure to Kaesong City (開城市)

    Located 8km north from the DMZ, Kaesong is a small city that changed hands between North and South Korea as a result of the Korean War.
     
  • Overnight at Minsok Folk Hotel in Kaesong City (開城民宿)

    Traditional Hanok houses inherited from Koryo Dynasty.

    *Erratic hot water supply at night.

 

0718

Day 6
Morning
  • Kwangdok jong balcony and private walk around Kaesong Old Town Centre (開城中心城區)

    The walk along this simple and traditional city will give you a very different Korean image, one that is the exact opposite of the hustle and bustle in Pyongyang.
     
  • Visit to Demilitarized Zone/Panmunjom (三八線/板門店)

    The most fortified border on Earth that still sees the standoff between the two Koreas

0719

 
Afternoon
  • Return to Pyongyang
  • Farewell with our Korean guides at a duck BBQ Restaurant
  • May Day Stadium
  • Visit to Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum (祖國解放戰爭紀念館) and USS Pueblo

    All societies and cultures possess their own stories or narratives about their past and their present, and sometimes about their view of the future.

    At the museum, we will learn more about the North Korean version of the Korean War.
     
  • Dinner
  • Grab a drink at Taedong River Bar (大同江酒吧)

    A local bar in Pyongyang, where we will relax and have a chit chat with our friendly Korean guides there.
     
  • Overnight at Yanggakdo Hotel (羊角島飯店)
Day 7
Morning
  • Visit to Sino-Korea Friendship Tower (中朝友誼塔)

    A gift from the Chinese to the DPRK and our last stop; we will discuss the relationship between China and North Korea, a subject that traces back to the time of the Korean War and extends to the present day.
     
  • Travel to Dandong

0720

 
Afternoon
  • Overnight at Great Wall Hotel (長城酒店) in Dandong, China (丹東市)
Day 8
  • Train from Dandong to Shenyang
  • Flight from Shenyang to Hong Kong

*Gather and Dismisses at Hong Kong.  

*Accommodations are single rooms (1 person) or twin rooms (2 persons).

*Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.​

**Due to the nature of visits in the DPRK, cancellation or reshuffle of itineraries might happen without prior notification; final itinerary will be subject to local circumstances and the decisions of our DPRK tour guides. We will however give our best endeavor to maintain the itinerary as planned, and find suitable alternatives when one is not applicable.

About the Lecturers

Mr. Charles Lai (黎雋維講師), HKU SPACE Part-time Lecturer

Ccharles_laiharles Lai is a Chartered Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). He graduated from the University of Hong Kong, Department of Architecture and Diploma School, AA School of Architecture in London. He is a blogger/columnist at _Standnews', and writes regularly on the architecture and built environment of Hong Kong. Charles is the founder of the studio, a o n a, and designed projects in China, Hong Kong, Nepal and Thailand.

 
Mr. Rubio Chan (陳成軍先生), Director and Co-founder of Eastern Vision

rubio_chanRubio Chan graduated from the University of Hong Kong and joined the Hong Kong Government to oversee the Hong Kong-ASEAN trade relation. Later he co-founded Eastern Vision with a view to bringing global insights to Hong Kong students and young professionals via curating tours to the world's most intriguing places. In particular, Rubio has visited the DPRK (aka North Korea) over 20 times and has been working closely with local institutions including Pyongyang Foreign Language University, Pyongyang Institute of Architecture, Pyongyang Morang Deaf Children Centre, Kim Jong Suk No.1 High School in Pyongsong etc. Having established a direct working channel with Pyongyang, Rubio has earned unprecedented access to North Korea's cities and places for Eastern Vision.

Application Code 1535-1635NW -
Time 7:00 - 9:00pm (Pre-tour Lectures)
Venue Island East Campus

Venue

Age 20 or above.

Course Fee
  • HK$18,850*
    (including HK$3,850 tour deposit to HKU SPACE, remaining fee to be collected by Walk In Hong Kong Limited (License No. 353919))

    * HK$1,000 discount for HKU SPACE staff, and HKIA, AIA (HK), & RIBA members

Application Form Download Application Form

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If you are in doubt about the procedures, please check the individual course details, or contact our programme staff or enrolment centres. 

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